Londonderry: Boy arrested as bonfire removed from the Bogside

Bogside bonfire
Image caption Some residents said they were angry that the bonfire was taken away

A 15-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of assault as bonfire material was removed from a site in Derry.

It happened at Meenan Square in the Bogside at about 08:00 BST on Thursday.

Police were there to monitor the removal of material by the owner, who was under a council enforcement order.

Ch Insp Gordon McCalmont said: "While the physical removal of bonfire material is not a matter for police, we will assist other statutory partners."

"We acknowledge that bonfires represent an important part of Northern Ireland's culture and legacy, but also that they can cause concerns among some communities.

"We attended Meenan Square this morning to ensure there was no breach of the peace," said Ch Insp McCalmont.

Some residents said they were angry that the bonfire had been removed.

Image caption Police were there to make sure there was no "breach of the peace"

Councillor Gary Donnelly said the police had left the area on edge.

"They came in to this community, they caused all this tension and then they drove away."

For many years residents, and the emergency services, have warned of the dangers of holding a fire so close to other buildings.

Seamus Ward, chairperson of Gasyard Wall Féile, said the bonfire has been an ongoing issue.

"From a survey that was conducted by the housing executive 84% of the residents stated categorically that they didn't want the bonfire.

"On that basis, we would support the local residents," he said.

Image caption The bonfire is usually set alight on 15 August

Derry City and Strabane District Council confirmed it had been in contact with the owner of the derelict property in Meenan Square.

"An enforcement notice has been served on the owner in relation to the ruinous and dilapidated state of the building and the owner has subsequently taken action this morning to remove illegal waste materials dumped at the site," said a spokesperson.

"Council is committed to providing advice and support to reduce the risk of bonfires to public safety and minimise any potential detrimental impact to the local environment."